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Only through wide-scale reforms will UN keep pace with changing times, Myanmar tells Assembly

Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin of Myanmar addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session.
UN Photo/Kim Haughton
Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin of Myanmar addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session.

Only through wide-scale reforms will UN keep pace with changing times, Myanmar tells Assembly

Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin mounted the podium of the General Assembly today to call for reforms of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to keep pace with a changing world.

“Today’s new and emerging challenges are increasingly questioning the effectiveness and efficiency of the Organization,” he told the Assembly’s 70th annual General Debate.

“While the cardinal principles of the UN Charter remain valid, the world Organization founded seven decades ago needs to be reformed in conformity with the today's changing realities and drastic growth in membership.

“We believe that the UN Security Council also has to be reformed to make it more representative, efficient, transparent and to strengthen its capacity to better discharge its responsibilities to maintain international peace and security as entrusted by the Charter.”

The Council is still restricted to 15 members, even as the total UN membership has risen to 193 from the original 51.

Turning to his own country, U Wunna Maung Lwin said the situation has improved in violence-torn Rakhine state, home to internally displaced people (IDPs) along with an estimated one million others of undetermined citizenship, who have been affected by restrictions on freedom of movement, and access to livelihoods and services, such as health and education.

“The Government has managed not only to prevent any new violence but also started to promote culture of peace through Interfaith Dialogue and talks among communities and their leaders. Peace and stability has been restored,” he declared, thanking regional and international partners for their assistance to humanitarian, resettlement, reintegration and development needs.

He also cited the progress made on democratic reforms since 2011. “The Government is now consolidating firm foundations for democracy,” he said. “The reforms have widened democratic space, advanced economic performance and narrowed differences with the non-state armed groups.

“New political culture of dialogue is rooted as Myanmar opened its door to different political forces since the early days of reforms. Amnesties were granted on several occasions allowing former prisoners to take part in nation building endeavours. Activists, media people, entrepreneurs and academicians living abroad have returned home. They are working hand in hand with the Government for a common goal of peaceful and prosperous Myanmar.”